The taste-bud pleasers at Dairy Queen whip up a creamy whirlwind of classic ice-cream treats and toasty mealtime dishes. The signature Blizzard's ($3.49–$5.29) chunky charms are as inescapable as ever, with classic candies and other flavour options blended to unmatched thickness with creamy soft-serve. Sundaes slather vanilla ice cream in hot fudge or caramel for an appealingly layered delight ($2.99–$3.59), and cones come either audaciously nude ($2.69–$3.19) or dipped in a luxurious layer of chocolate or crunchy coating ($2.79–$3.29), Alternatively, sizzle-starved denizens can get their fill without walking on coals by noshing on a selection of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and fries.
Hailing from India's southernmost coastal state, Santha and Chiral Purushotham honour their homeland with a spice-centric menu of authentic Kerala dishes. Eschewing artificial ingredients, the Purushothams import spices and ambient noise directly from India so chefs can cook authentic South Indian and Kerala dishes, such as tandoori chicken ($7.75) and shrimp biriyani ($10.50). Further flavour explorations include mutton enlivened by aromatic curry ($6.95), and extensive vegetarian options such as crispy vegetable pakora ($6) lead diners down an herbivore-friendly thoroughfare. Madras Palace’s decor feeds the senses by intermingling Indian elements including statuary and ornate screens with maroon table spreads and carpets.
Inside Café en Passant, tables are handsomely dressed in blue and white linens; along with the bouquets of red carnations, the colors evoke the French Tricolore flag. For 35 years, these tables have displayed dishes prepared elegantly with both traditional and nouveau techniques, such as baked white-mushroom caps filled with pâté, red wine, and Swiss. Though rooted in French flavors (there are crêpes, escargots, and award-winning French onion soups), the dinner menu also includes wiener schnitzel and a handful of Italian-style pasta dishes. Whatever the dish, chefs use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, and often rotate in specials that guests will find displayed on a blackboard or etched into their water's ice cubes.
Of course, since this is a French restaurant at heart, there's plenty of dedication to both wine and dessert. Sorbets and cheesecakes rotate daily, but you can order classics such as chocolate-truffle cake and their specialty crème brûlée every day. The wine list represents vineyards from around the world, including Canadian and Australian reds alongside French and Californian whites.
Dick's Wings & Grill's spice-emphasizing franchise gathers diners around menus featuring eclectic salads, burgers, sandwiches, and wings. Chicken wings waltz across plates in batches up to 100 pieces dressed in 365 variations of 30 changing sweet and savoury sauces, six dry rub blends, and six levels of heat ranging from none to the restaurant’s secret sauce. Chefs fortify certified Angus-beef burgers with toppings more varied than Charlie Chaplin's bowtie collection, and they cook all dishes using trans fat-free oils. While red walls and bright neon signs surround diners, plates pair with an array of domestic and premium beers ranging from Labatt to Alexander Keith's. The dining area's sports bar atmosphere is filled with paraphernalia such as hockey team photos, and karaoke and trivia nights allow patrons to settle disputes over the best death-metal Beethoven tribute album.
Nando's Flame-Grilled Chicken, founded in South Africa in 1987, brings Portugal's peri-peri flame-grilled chicken to the Vancouver area with only the bare minimum of laser lights and smoke-shrouded, two-way mirrors. Discovered by Portuguese explorers in Africa in the distant days of maritime exploration, peri-peri is a fiery chili pepper that adds a kick of capsaicin to any cuisine, clucker-related or not. Nando's fresh chicken breasts luxuriate in their peri-peri marinade for 24 hours, resulting in dishes with a slate of Scoville-scale-scorching spice levels—mild lemon and herb, medium, hot, and the daredevil-only extra hot. Step up to Nando's counter to order from the menu of sandwiches, pitas, wraps, salads, and peri-peri chicken. Enjoy a grilled-to-order peri-peri half-chicken with a side ($11.39) such as spiced rice or hearty coleslaw, or bite around basted bones with a dozen peri-peri chicken wings with a side ($9.99). Nando's also sports peri-peri chicken breast sandwiches or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), chicken or veggie whole wheat wraps with a side ($8.49–10.79), and veggie burgers or pitas ($8.49–$10.79), as well as salads and salad meals ($3.99–$9.99) for lovers of leaves of lettuce.
Every dish on River Star Restaurant’s menu of fresh, eclectic Chinese fare arrives at tables with a guarantee of no added MSG. The chefs slice various veggies and meats for 28 noodle combos such as satay beef with vermicelli soup, and they oil up woks for 16 fried rice dishes, including seafood fried rice ($8.99). Those in the mood for something different can dig into a baked salmon on a davenport of baked spaghetti ($10.99) or mouth-hug one of 15 sammies, including the shredded pork ($3.25) with condensed milk on Texas toast just back from lassoing a mess of wild cacti. During afternoon tea, Hong Kong–style black tea doused with fresh milk ($1.75 hot; $2.75 cold) soothes throats sore from cheering on the sun to reach the top of the sky.